North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

November 27, 2013

Black Friday gets head start on Thursday at some stores

By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

— The Thanksgiving turkey will barely have time to settle by the time retailers open their doors for the year’s biggest shopping season.

Some aren’t even waiting until Black Friday; Walmart and other chains have big plans for Thanksgiving evening holiday sales.

Walmart is having Black Friday events on Thursday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and on Friday at 8 a.m.

Walmart spokesman Chris Schraeder, who was at Walmart in Gardendale this week, said the retailer will feature a “one-hour guarantee,” where customers in designated lines at the times mentioned above can purchase from 21 items with the guarantee that they will receive it that day or before Christmas. Each time slot has different “guarantee” items.

Walmart is also issuing wristbands in the stores for certain products. Customers must be in a designated line within two hours after the event start time to pick up their product.

In addition, each store will offer manager specials throughout stores on Black Friday; individual managers will chose their own specials.

“We’re trying to help shoppers not be as stressed,” said Schraeder. He said customers can also find store maps, sales and special deals online.

However, not only retail giants are gearing up for the holiday shopping season. Plenty of mom-and-pop stores are also hoping for a busy week for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

“Most people go to the malls for Black Friday, but we’re hoping to get our share of it,” said Gail Chambers, owner of Dreams Avenue in Morris.

Dreams Avenue is offering some sales for the week: Boots 40 percent off, apparel 50 percent off, Christmas decor 50 percent off and Beaucoup designer jewelry 50 percent off.

Another local business owner agrees with Chambers’ summary of the holiday shopping season.

“Everybody goes to the mall for Black Friday, but it gets busy here later on,” said Marguerite Craft, owner of Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio in Gardendale. “Our customers know we will have things all the way up to Christmas. We always keep a good stock of everything.”

Craft said her store does have some “great buys for Christmas,” including a set of four lip glosses for $25; a houndstooth bag with mascara, eye makeup and eyelashes for $36; and a skin care set with four vitamin E products for $42.

Craft said her store also sales many gift certificates as Christmas gifts.

In Fultondale, Maurices is gearing up for a busy shopping week. Manager Michelle Burgess said the store is stocking up on sweaters, denim, sweatshirts and scarves.

“Scarves are the number one accessory this year,” she said.

The store also has “charitable giving” necklaces: A choice of silver or gold with an infinity charm, cross or hearts. Fifty percent of the $12 price goes to the American Cancer Society.

“So when you’re giving this year, you get a little something for yourself,” said Burgess.